February 2, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir said has decided to open a new chapter of cooperation with the United Nations, saying he met and agreed with the new secretary general of the United Nations to work together towards promoting the founding values of the organizations.
“My knowledge of the United Nations is that it is not an independent country and it is not superior to any country. I know it as an organization of the member states which are governed by their own laws and practices as sovereign states. At the United Nations, we are equal members, regardless of whether a country is young, old, big or small”, said President Kiir, according one of his aides who attended a meeting with the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the recent summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Kiir said his country and himself has been treated as unequal member and a boy to other countries and leaders that the United Nations was acting like a separate government in South Sudan.
"Sometimes when citizens read messages from the United Nations about South Sudan, they begin to wonder why the country and its leadership are treated like that. When they are annoyed, they go out on their own to protest this treatment. We understand their concerns but we say no that is not how to present issues. There is a way to do things but some people within the United Nations took it as our weakness and they continued to behave as if South Sudan a protectorate state of the United Nations so we get orders from them,” said Kiir
The South Sudanese leader said an indirect reference to his bad relations with the former secretary general of the United Nations. As, the relations between UN and South Sudan government have deteriorated after fighting broke out in Juba in December 2013.
In January 2014, the UN’s camp in Bor was the scene of a dispute between the government and the UN when South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth’ was refused entry the compound because of his two armed bodyguards.
At the time, the UN chief released a statement condemning the forced entry by government officials. Ban Ki-moon said he was particularly disturbed over threats made to UN staff after they refused to allow armed soldiers to enter the site after they tried to accompany civilians inside.
“Some of them have now gone to contest for elections in their own countries to become president. I don’t know now how they would feel if they become president and the United Nations secretariat decided to treat them like the way they conducted them when it comes to the issues related to South Sudan and their leadership. This has to change so that we treat ourselves according to international protocol and norms .As for us; we are ready to open a new chapter of cooperation with the new leadership of the United Nations and we will support you in implementing and promoting the founding values and universal ideals,” said President Kiir.
The former rebel commander turned politician and became president of the young nation made the remarks during his recent meeting at the margin of the African union summit
His remarks appear to have played a role in the manner in which the new secretary general of the United Nations has been making comments indicating a major shift in relations.
After returning to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, Antonio Guterres expressed readiness of the organization to working to “avoid the worst” for South Sudan. He also praised the international and regional cooperation that prevented large-scale violence. He also described the situation in the country as “dramatic” and could worsen.
Guterres said it was agreed at a meeting involving himself, leaders of the AU and East African bloc IGAD that they would cooperate to make sure that South Sudan’s national dialogue be genuinely inclusive and move forward.
“In a meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that we will have better cooperation both for the U.N. mission to operate more freely inside South Sudan and for the Regional Protection Force to be put in place," said Guterres.
African nations have proposed deploying 4,000 troops into South Sudan to help stabilize the country, where three years of conflict have displaced more than two million people.
The United Nations has noted "historical deep-rooted rivalries" between ethnic groups in the region. President Salva Kiir recently created more states in the Malakal area by dividing its political borders.